Alameda County agrees to allow Tesla’s Fremont factory to remain open

On Monday, Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he was reopening his Tesla factory in Fremont, California whether officials in Alameda County liked it or not. He suggested that if county officials planned to arrest someone, they should limit themselves to him. Musk wasn’t joking about reopening. Video of the parking lot showed it was mostly full that afternoon. In response, Alameda County sent a letter saying Musk needed to submit a plan which would have to be approved. Musk did submit the plan and late last night Alameda County officials accepted it.

On late Tuesday evening, the Alameda County Public Health Department claimed it had “agreed” to allow the Tesla factory to reopen, as if hadn’t been totally steamrolled. It’s fairly obvious that Musk was holding all the cards, regardless of whatever kind of face-saving agreement may now be on the table.

Tweeting close to midnight, the Alameda County Public Health Department, which apparently spent all of Tuesday dodging questions from reporters, announced it had “agreed” to a “site-specific plan” that would allow Tesla to conduct “Minimum Business Operations.” This will remain in place until next week, officials said, in preparation for a “possible reopening.”

Here’s the full statement published on Twitter. It notes that the county will be working with the police department to verify social distancing is taking place at the factory:

The letter reads like a face-saving effort but overall it looks like the county caved. As for the part about “Minimum Business Operations,” it’s not clear that’s what is happening at Tesla this week. Musk sent an email thanking all of his returning employees:

Just wanted to send you a note of appreciation for working hard to make Tesla successful. It is so cool seeing the factory come back to life and you are making it happen!!

An honest day’s work spent building products or providing services of use to others is extremely honorable. I have vastly more respect for someone who takes pride in doing a good job, whatever the profession, than some rich or famous person who does nothing useful.

Gratefully yours,

Musk seemed to be celebrating last night:

I don’t know if Gov. Newsom placed calls behind the scenes to county officials but Musk did get support from President Trump yesterday on Twitter.

Naturally, Musk was criticized for being on the same side as Trump.

He joined in mocking the person who wanted to “let that sink in.”

The remaining questions in all of this is whether Musk will follow through on his threat to move his operations out of the state. That’s what he threatened to do on Saturday but now that he has his factory open again, maybe he’s forgotten about it. Officials and individuals from other states haven’t forgotten though. They are eagerly trying to lure him away from California.

He doesn’t sound eager to leave. Was he bluffing? Reporter Kara Swisher tells CNBC she doesn’t think he was.

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